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India

Belgian Jesuit's language legacy continues in India

The missionary, an expert on the story of Hindu god Rama, is considered India's most notable Christian Hindi scholar

Belgian Jesuit's language legacy continues in India

A bust of Belgian Jesuit missionary Father Camille Bulcke (1909-82) stands in the campus of St. Xavier's College in Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand state in eastern India. (Photo supplied)

Camille Bulcke may be unfamiliar in his native Belgium but more than a century after his birth, he continues to be acclaimed for his Hindi scholarship in distant India.

Jesuit Father Bulcke’s 110th birth anniversary passed off without public celebrations on Sept. 1 in India, where he came to be known as a literary figure during his 48-year missionary life.

“By his research and writings he won for himself a position of eminence in the literary circles of India and was a popular figure in the universities and colleges,” wrote India’s then-popular newspaper Statesman of his death on Aug. 17, 1982.

The Belgian landed in India in 1935, at the age of 26, armed with a civil engineering degree from Louvain. Besides English and his native languages of French and Flemish, he also knew Latin, Greek and German.

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